Adobe XD was developed by Adobe Inc and released on October 18, 2018. The tool is
available for Mac and windows, and is even free to use in its basic version. Those who
need all the functionalities can purchase the full version starting at 11,89€/month. It
offers a user-friendly, minimalistic user interface for wireframing and screen design,
in which interactive click prototypes can also be easily created. XD has all the
functionalities you need and impresses with some that other tools don't have yet - such
as voice UI tools. In addition it offers the possibility to create simple animations.
Another plus is the seamless workflow integration with other Adobe tools - the proximity
to the Adobe
Tools definitely also makes it easier for experienced Adobe users to get started with
the program. Nevertheless, the usage is a bit bumpy in places - the shape tool is very
the organization of the symbols is definitely better solved in other tools.
The Danish company Bohemian Coding, developed and initially released the program Sketch
on September 7, 2010. Since it overtook Photoshop, Sketch has been the pioneer in UI
design tools. And there's a reason for that: Sketch was a revolution for UI design,
setting new standards for with intuitive tools like artboards, symbols, and export
presets. Sketch is successful and a true expert when it comes to designing wireframes as
well as sophisticated visuals cleanly and quickly. Once you get used to the intuitive
work and Sketch's user-friendly UI, you won't want to miss it.
Its position as a leader is not unchallenged - up-and-coming competitors are building on
the standards set by Sketch and now have innovative functionalities such as prototyping
and live collaboration that are missing from Sketch. If you want to do the whole UI
design process in Sketch, you have to work with plugins. For the collaborative work,
there is now Sketch for Teams, but the real innovations in UI design mostly come from
other vendors. Further shortcomings are the steep price of 99 euros per year per license
and the fact that Sketch is still only available for Mac.
Figma appeared on the market in 2016 as the first and so far only completely
browser-based UI design tool. It offers fluid, real-time collaboration that eliminates
the need for complicated version management. But it's not just the simpler teamwork
that's impressive. Figma's coherent user interface and range of practical tools quickly
made it a promising competitor among UI tools. Figma offers a holistic solution from
wireframing to developer handoff and does a lot of things better than the forerunner
Sketch - more practical icons, easy file sharing and developer handoff support. One
drawback of the tool, however, can be that work can only be done online, especially
since local caches can hinder teamwork. For individuals with up to 3 projects, the tool
is free, the upgrade to unlimited projects and teams is available from 12 euros per
First released in 2019, InVision Studio is a relatively new UI design tool. It's
permanently free for smaller teams, and costs $8 per month per team member for larger
teams. Even though it started as a Mac tool, it is now available for Windows as well.
What makes inVision particularly valuable is that prototypes with more complex
animations and microinteractions can be created in the program. These can be more varied
than in any other tool. But also in other matters, InVision is definitely worth looking
at: a clean user interface packed with all the features we already know from other tools
and don't want to miss. The symbols are similar to those in Figma, and the layout is as
clean and intuitive as that of Sketch. Additionally, it offers InVision Specs - a
platform that guarantees a seamless transition from design to development.
With this complete package, inVision has rapidly gained popularity. However, there is
already some criticism: the various functionalities are not fully developed and do not
integrate well with each other. Despite a lot of feedback, the tool is not improving as
hoped, some functions are added only after years of pleading. Nevertheless, it remains
the only tool that combines design, prototyping and animations - and thus definitely has
Who's the winner?
But which UI design and prototyping tool is the best? There is no clear answer to this
question. Rather, it depends on what the project requires and what preferences, needs
and limitations the designers bring with them.
For example, I would prefer Sketch for complex design projects, for which an elaborate
screen design is created, and Figma for a team that wants to work in a lively exchange
and needs first prototypes. For smaller teams or solo designers who want to get started
quickly, Adobe XD might be the best choice. And if an impressive, modern prototype needs
to be animated, InVision Studio might be best.
But if you consider all aspects - and want a tool that comes as close as possible to a smooth
all-in-one package - Figma cuts a really strong figure. And holds out the prospect of
getting even better.